Roman Greenberg is an unbeaten heavyweight. He’s variously been complimented on his hand-speed and combination punching. Latterly, he’s been maligned for his soft physique, lack of snap in his punches and for progressing at a rate so slow – only video replay confirms he’s moving forward. Next up for the Russian born, British managed, Israeli national is Damon Reed. Groan.
Nobody would criticise Greenberg’s management for moving him cautiously, he’s young, not a natural puncher and isn’t a giant in modern heavyweight terms but 25 fights on, nobody is any closer to substantiating whether Greenberg can actually fight at all.
Lazy output, an inability to avoid right hands are both flaws in Greenberg’s game still abundantly obvious despite a long apprenticeship in the heavyweight ranks. His association with the Seconds Out website is well documented and assures every aspect of his career receives publicity disproportionate to the significance of the event or fight reported. And like all well publicised fighters, the cynics are never far away. In Greenberg, they sense a vulnerability and shallowness of will.
Criticism of his progress varies among fans, at 25 he still has time on his hands in a fossilised heavyweight division but the progress of Alexander Povetkin – who fights Chris Byrd in the semi-final of an IBF eliminator tourney in his 13th bout – serves to highlight the snail pace Greenberg is being moved at. 25 year old American Eddie Chambers also features and Sam Peter (26) will tackle Oleg Maskaev for the WBC crown soon. Youth, as a justification for weak opponents, will soon expire as a rationale for Greenberg’s matchmakers.
Greenberg is behind par.
So what of Greenberg’s next opponent; Damon Reed? Often denounced as the least qualified fighter to ever contest a portion of the heavyweight title, his ‘challenge’ for Herbie Hide’s then lightly regarded WBO title, is not going add momentum to Greenberg’s flagging career either. Hide took 52 seconds to knock him out a life time ago. Four years ago failed contender Derek Bryant, then 15-0, stopped him in two rounds. Vincenzo Contatore, a European Cruiserweight also stopped him four.
Reed is a poor opponent on virtually any set of criteria, but for a boxer supposedly short-listed to fight Vitaly Klitschko in his comeback bout, god-smiled on him when he plumped for Jameel McCline, he is a chasm beneath the type of opponent Greenberg needs to advance his cause and seasoning.